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Identifying the Drivers of Industry in Northeast Ohio

Research enhances understanding of Cleveland economy

ClevelandThe double recessions of the early 2000s and 2008 have had greater impacts on the economy of Northeast Ohio than in comparable Midwest regions and the United States as a whole, but according to researchers in CSU’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, the Cleveland area is now showing signs of growth.

A new study conducted by Dr. Iryna V. Lendel, Dr. Merissa C. Piazza and Dr. Ira Demko provides relevant, data-driven insights on competitive industries in Northeast Ohio. The report identifies three Groups of Regional Industry Drivers (GRIDs) that have outperformed national counterparts in wealth creation: professional services, legacy manufacturing and oil and gas. These three industries employ 20 percent of the regional workforce (363,660 people), contribute nearly 40 percent to Northeast Ohio’s total output ($86.5 billion) and have a competitive advantage over other regional economies nationally.

“Northeast Ohio has had significant challenges in recovering from the last two recessions but this data shows that specific industries are making a comeback and are serving as job and wealth engines for the region,” says Lendel, director of CSU’s Center for Economic Development. “This analysis will assist economic development agencies and local governments in properly targeting investments that can further advance industrial growth and innovation.”

The largest share of output is provided by the professional services GRID, which includes finance and insurance companies, company headquarters, hospitals and real estate. The growing legacy manufacturing GRID includes steel-making, basic chemicals and tools among others, which have successfully restructured after the recession. The Oil and Gas GRID is an emerging industry, relatively small in employment size, but a sizeable contributor to the region’s output.

The research was made possible thanks to a $300,000 grant from the George Gund Foundation to conduct a comprehensive 2-year analysis of Northeast Ohio with the goal of improving measurement of regional performance and developing better economic indicators for assessing regional strengths and challenges. It also updates previous research conducted for the Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy in 2011, and provides up-to-date insights into the future growth areas for the regional economy.

Click here to read more about the study.